For far too many months, historic flooding has been the talk of the town in communities across the great state of Missouri. As Missourians continue to showcase their resilience in the aftermath of these disasters, I am doing everything in my power to ensure my constituents have the resources they need to continue rebuilding.
In July, President Donald Trump swiftly approved disaster assistance for Missouri’s hardest hit counties, with the support of the entire Missouri Congressional delegation. The approved disaster declaration made federal funding available for numerous counties in Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District including Cole, Lincoln, Miller, Osage and St. Charles. As of last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved an expansion of the disaster declaration to include Callaway and Jefferson counties.
For many families in Missouri, this assistance is a critical lifeline. Thankfully, FEMA has already approved 1,058 households for Individual Assistance Grants, providing more than $5 million directly to homeowners in Missouri. The National Flood Insurance Program has received more than 1,500 claims since March, paying out more than $30 million to Missouri policyholders. Additionally, 94 percent of home inspections have been completed for homeowners and renters who registered with FEMA and reported damage. For anyone who has not yet registered, I urge you to visit DisasterAssistance.gov where you can register and report damage or unmet needs.
While many of our communities are receiving the assistance and resources they need, some Missouri counties have been denied assistance, including Gasconade County. Last week, I joined the entire Missouri Congressional delegation on a letter to President Donald Trump urging support for these forgotten counties. “The extensive damage to communities across our state in a short time period has strained the capacity of volunteer organizations and local governments to assist individuals and families,” we wrote. “We respectfully request that FEMA reconsider the extent of damage caused by the flooding. … Many of our constituents have endured hardships in the wake of these destructive weather events which will only be prolonged in the absence of federal individual assistance.” I am hopeful FEMA will reconsider their denial and provide these counties with the critical assistance they deserve.
Looking to the future, we must have better flood plans to avoid repeated disasters for those who live near the rivers. This week, I met with various stakeholders to discuss how to deal with the risks facing Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District. The Mississippi and Missouri rivers remain susceptible to flooding, and without better river management and cooperation between state and local officials, we will be facing the same realities for years to come. I can assure you I will continue to advocate for my constituents to ensure they receive the resources they need today and the promise of better flood plans for the future.
For more information, please call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362).
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state’s 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.